A group of participants from the Sport for Confidence programme at Basildon Sporting Village have been volunteering this summer to restore a flower bed outside the main entrance.
The group are taking part in Can Do Sport, which is a volunteering programme, set up by disability charity Leonard Cheshire, for young people aged 10 to 35 years old who are have a disability or an additional need.
Can Do Sport is about becoming more active, volunteering in the local community, raising awareness of disability, learning new skills and growing in self-confidence. With 16 hours of volunteering, ‘Can Doers’ can achieve a City & Guilds certificate.
Leanne Colegate, the Programme Coordinator for Leonard Cheshire in Essex, says: “Gardening is lovely way to both gently exercise and improve your mental well-being. There’s nothing better than working with your hands and mind, and coming into contact with nature.
“Gardening in a group has other benefits as well – new friendships have been made and old friendships have been strengthened. There was always a great atmosphere and a wonderful sense of achievement. I’m really proud of the group for how they came together to give something back to Sport for Confidence.”
Eight young people were involved in the project with each attending eight sessions spread across July and August.
With ‘communication’ the central theme, sensory herbs and flowers will take pride of place in the bed, perfect for mindful breathing exercises and great for stimulating the senses. To encourage interaction amongst those who are both verbal and non-verbal, individuals are decorating stones for placement in the bed which highlight different moods and emotions, and to represent we are all different.
Donna Robinson from Billericay has been involved in the project from the start and says: “I have loved my time in the garden. It’s great to be able to spend time with friends and also to know that I am involved in creating something that will bring happiness to others.”
Lyndsey Barrett, Senior Occupational Therapist and Founder at Sport For Confidence, adds: “Participants are really enjoying the contribution they are making to the environment and the opportunity to learn new skills. Every week, at Sport For Confidence we encourage people of all abilities to lead an active lifestyle, fully appreciating the far reaching mental, physical and social benefits associated with being active. This project is a superb example of how organisations can work together to deliver positive client-centred outcomes. I encourage all visitors to the leisure centre to stop by and take a look at the flower bed, it really is looking great.”
For more information on Can Do, visit their website.